The Curse Mandate by J.P. Sloan

Shortly after One Book Two started, Nell and I read two books in the Dark Choir series by J.P. Sloan. That was spring of 2015. FINALLY, we have the much-anticipated book 3! I’m sure the author will be glad not to receive our monthly “Are you done yet?” emails. 🙂

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Curse MandateTitleThe Curse Mandate
AuthorJ.P. Sloan
Series: The Dark Choir, Book 03
Publish Date: Dec 18, 2016, Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s DescriptionWar is coming… how much hell will Dorian Lake unleash when the gloves come off?

Saddled with both a new pupil and a bar to run, Dorian has to pick his battles carefully if he is to find his soul. When the Dark Choir bargains with Dorian in exchange for his loyalty, the power they offer may be too valuable to refuse…for a new menace threatens the hermetic order in America.

Members of the Presidium are being outed in the press, and the formidable cabal’s response is swift and brutal. But Dorian has no time to hide from the Presidium’s fury, as the new Deputy Mayor taps him to investigate a string of occult crimes. Dorian soon uncovers an ancient enemy of the Presidium, which threatens to plunge America into a lawless era not seen since the Dark Ages.

To sway Dorian to their cause, the Presidium gives him free rein to practice Netherwork. But even if the man without a soul can survive this conflict, if he can protect his friends and allies, if he can mean the difference between order and chaos… will this mandate save Dorian Lake from the schemes of the Dark Choir?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

I read the first two books in the Dark Choir series in Spring of 2015. That was a while ago, so I reread them before reading The Curse Mandate.  I had forgotten just how good this series is!

I will say that the overall story isn’t completely unique in the urban fantasy genre—cranky wizard/unreliable narrator gets forced into caring about more and more people, so his life gets complicated and enriched at the same time. There is a supposedly-white-hat, magic-policing organization both hunting him and recruiting him while he’s trying to train a dangerous apprentice. I could name three or four successful urban fantasy series that follow this same general pattern. So if you’re bored with that, you might want to steer clear.

However, if it’s done well, a million stories could be told along similar lines and all of them would be interesting because each has a unique flavor that comes from the characters, the magic system, and the world-building. Sloan does all three of these things very well, which makes this series successful, at least for me.

The characters are well-written and I care about their welfare. The magic system is interesting and I love learning more about how it works. And the world provides enough mystery and intrigue to make the plot compelling.

badge5v5In this installment, someone is aiming to take down the supposedly-white-hat, magic-policing organization and all the wizards affiliated with it. Dorian Lake has to hunt down the culprit and save the organization while not getting caught in its sticky web. On top of that, he has an apprentice to train, a junkie to clean up, a business to run, friends who need him, clients with problems, and a city official who almost presses him into service. Oh, yes … and he still has to find and reclaim his soul before it’s eaten by evil demons. Wizards have very complicated lives.

If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, I recommend giving this series a try. I’m looking forward to Dorian’s next adventure.

Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

This is a horror but not in a slasher, blood spurting kind of horrific kind of way.  It’s more of a possible reality and that’s what scares me.

I wasn’t all that keen on the protagonist in book 1, but Dorian has grown some since then.  He’s still kind of rotten to his friends, but to be fair, he’s kind of hard to like sometimes. The poor guy lost his soul and even though he doesn’t have it, he’s still got a conscience.  He’s looking to find his soul and he encounters a lot of problems along the way.  There are agendas within agendas and the characters that are introduced are not hard to keep track of.  Everything flows and this is, again, not your average horror novel.  It’s more mystery/paranormal suspense.

badge4v5I think you could read this book as a stand alone if you don’t mind getting a little lost with things that are referred to in the past.  I think you could figure it out, but I think it would be a good idea to start with the first of the series if you want the whole Dorian Lake experience.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

There are lots of successful books that use this same general story foundation, but each one is different and enjoyable. For example, the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka, the Yancy Lazarus series by James A. Hunter, the Asylum Tales by Jocelynn Drake, and even the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.




About Invested Ivana

I'm currently a freelance line editor, a book blogger at One Book Two, and lifetime reader. I like geeky things. All opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Red Adept Editing or any of my clients, the other reviewers on this site, or this site as a whole.

Posted on February 6, 2017, in Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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